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  • Steering: Hard Steering Lark

    Has anyone pulled the steering box out of a 1962 Lark? It has a V8 in it and a Saginaw steering box. I was wondering how hard it would be to get it out as the shaft goes all the way to the steering wheel. It steers pretty hard. It's full of lube. It has a Saginaw 525-D-84 according to the shop manual. Any tips would be appreciated.

    Thanks, Gene
    Last edited by showbizkid; 09-30-2019, 03:55 PM.
    Gene Shambaugh

  • #2
    That's surprising, 1961 and newer Larks with the Saginaw unit are normally very easy steering. There might be something else going on.
    So.....if I'm 'pre-approved' why do you want me to fill out an application?

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    • #3
      Time to jack it up and turn the wheels checking the: King Pins, Steering Linkage, Bellcrank, Tie Rod ends, Reach Rod.
      Give it a good grease job.
      Check the Tires for obvious lean-in at the Top; (Negative Camber) from worn "A" Arm Bushings etc. uneven Tire wear.
      StudeRich
      Second Generation Stude Driver,
      Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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      • #4
        I think StudeRich is right. I had bad steering and completely rebuilt the front; I doubt it is the steering gear box.

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        • #5
          What size/type tires are on the car? Makes a big difference.

          Stude tech advice in Turning Wheels is for 195R/15, but many cars, (especially those with power steering) use 205R/15. The original size 6.40/ 6.70 -15 bias plys work magic as far as steering effort goes (power steering no longer really needed), but in ANY case or scenario, the front end should be in good shape first.
          Roger Hill


          60 Lark Vlll, hardtop, black/red, Power Kit, 3 spd. - "Juliette"
          61 Champ Deluxe, 6, black/red, o/d, long box. - "Jeri"
          Junior Wagon - "Junior"

          "In the end, dear undertaker,
          Ride me in a Studebaker"

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          • #6
            I didn't mention it, but I just rebuilt the front suspension, had it aligned and put on a new set of tires. It squeaks some times and it sounds like right at the steering wheel. It would be nice if it was something a little simpler.
            Thanks for the replies, Gene
            Gene Shambaugh

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Drifter22 View Post
              I didn't mention it, but I just rebuilt the front suspension, had it aligned and put on a new set of tires. It squeaks some times and it sounds like right at the steering wheel. It would be nice if it was something a little simpler.
              Thanks for the replies, Gene
              Did the rebuild include replacing the king pin bushings and thrust washers? Have they been kept properly lubricated?
              Disconnect the steering box and see how smooth it turns. I, too, do not suspect the gear box.
              Gary L.
              Wappinger, NY

              SDC member since 1968
              Studebaker enthusiast much longer

              Comment


              • #8
                Yes, needle bearings, bronze bushing and thrust bearing. Old ones looked good. I had the A arms, torsion bar and brackets power coated and got new grade 8 bolts. I have it on the hoist and it turns very easy. I didn't do anything to the bell crank tho. Attached a couple pictures. I bought a power steering unit off a guy in Pennsylvania a couple years ago to put on my Lark, BUT it looked like he dug it up out of his yard and nothing was plugged, cylinder, lines, every thing had dirt in it, so I just put it on the shelve and continue to drive it the way it was. I thought redoing the front end would help, but it didn't. When I drive it it squeaks and and hangs up and it sound like it's right at the steering wheel. I found a top loader and put in the transmission, it's a 3 speed with O.D. I took the shift lever off the column, I wonder if the shift rods could be binding it up? Well if you think of anything, I would appreciate a reply.
                Gene
                Attached Files
                Gene Shambaugh

                Comment


                • #9
                  Drifter22 - did you adjust the steering box gear clearance? There's a screw in the side of the box with a nut that holds it tight once adjusted. If this was adjusted during your rebuild process and the clearance was set too tight, the gears could bind during steering. I have a post on it here.

                  Also, did you make sure the steering gearbox is full of lube?

                  Clark in San Diego | '63 Standard (F2) "Barney" | http://studeblogger.blogspot.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Drifter22 View Post
                    When I drive it it squeaks and and hangs up and it sound like it's right at the steering wheel.
                    Gene
                    Wonder if the bearing at the top of the column has given up the ghost?

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                    • #11
                      I once fixed the very hard steering on a ‘62 Lark. She had someone that did some repairs to the column and after that it steered hard. I saw that the upper steering column was extremely tight against the back of the steering wheel. I loosened the lower bolt that clamps the column to the steering box and loosened the column bolt at the bottom of the dash. I slid the column assembly away from the steering wheel 1/8” or so - enough to provide clearance but not so much that the directional signal cancelling was disabled. After re- tightening the bolts, it turned with great ease, just like a ‘61 and later Lark is supposed to.

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                      • #12
                        Going along with the steering column train of thought, have you tinkered with the column clamp at the dash board and the steering box by loosening the bolts making it easy to centre the column at the dash and then once centered tightened the clamp and then the bolts at the steering box, if so you may have bowed the actual steering shaft its self. Shims may be required between the steering box and frame. Cheers Harryhawk
                        Last edited by Harryhawk; 10-05-2019, 01:23 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Agree with HarryHawk. The steering box has to be bolted down solid, in a position that puts the steering column into a neutral position inside the car. If the column was bolted down, and then the box tightened down, it could be putting a side load on the steering shaft. I would loosen both ends and check to see if everything is aligned. My Hawk had a thick spacer under at least one of the bolts on the box.

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                          • #14
                            Gene,
                            I agree with all the comments as I have a bone stock '59 V-8 HT (only 25,000 original miles) which steers surprising well. It even has 7" wide rims with 215/70r15 tires and no power steering but I did refill the box with Lucas Chain Oil as per one of this site's contributors' recommendation. Your problem must be something very basic which has been overlooked.
                            Luck in finding it.
                            Bill

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                            • #15
                              The only thing I have tried to adjust is the adjusting screw on the side of the gear box. I have never done any thing to the steering column. I would like to get the shift rods out of the steering column. Anybody have any idea how to go about removing them?

                              Thanks, Gene
                              Gene Shambaugh

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